Can a boat be registered in the EU without VAT having been paid? I assumed that if it's an EU boat, VAT has been paid and it is a better buy than bringing a US boat over to cruise. No worry about having to leave the EU so VAT would have to be paid.
As far as how registration is handled once a non-EU citizen purchases the boat, I would assume it's not that much different from what happens in the US. A US federally documented vessel must be owned and skippered by a US citizen. If the boat is state-registered only, though, I don't think that citizenship issue applies. I think that some of the fine points of the law would best be answered by that country's officials, wouldn't you say?
A lot of research into VAT and cruising the Med has been done, and written about, by two sailors sharing a web site. You might want to read their information on VAT and avoiding VAT by a US registered boat. John's Sailing Web